November 16, 2021
Are you the type of person that buys pumpkin spice everything the moment Labor Day passes? If so, the shorter days and cooler temperatures that come with autumn are likely welcome changes each year. But for others, the transition into autumn and winter can lead to symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, including tiredness, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of depression.
Fortunately, earlier sunsets and chillier weather don’t have to negatively impact your mental well-being. Here are five things you can do to cozy up for the season.
The easiest way to get into the seasonal spirit is to decorate your home; it also can be a mood booster for many people. Even the smallest city apartment can benefit from some decorative gourds, and if you have a home with outdoor space, there’s plenty you can do with lights, pumpkins, and other outdoor decor to get in the spirit.
One of the most powerful senses for triggering emotion (and memory) is your sense of smell. A home full of the scents of autumn can improve your mood by triggering pleasant memories. Whether it’s potpourri or a pumpkin spice candle, the scents of fall can all help your home feel comfortable, warm, and festive.
One of the season’s great delights is curling up on the couch with hot cider and enjoying some candles or a small fire. Don’t have a fireplace? Not to worry — a weighted blanket is a great way to stay warm. Weighted blankets also apply gentle pressure to the whole body, mimicking the feeling of being held or hugged. This may reduce the perception of pain, diminish anxiety, and help relieve depression.
So many foods — like apples, pumpkins, and Brussels sprouts — are in season during the fall. Start your day by making some healthy pumpkin pancakes, enjoy a sweet potato and Brussels sprout salad with dinner, and finish the night off with this delicious low-fat apple crisp recipe.
With winter coming on autumn’s heels, you’ll be inside more often over the coming months. Keep yourself mentally stimulated by playing a board game, reading, needlepointing, or learning an instrument. Activities, hobbies, and other interests are good for your mental health, and keep your mind engaged and sharp. Plus, they can help you de-stress!
Autumn’s changes, particularly shorter days, can have a real impact on your mood and mental health. The suggestions above are great ways to get excited for fall, but it’s important to ensure you also keep an eye on other aspects of mental health in the autumn: find ways to get outside, exercise, and get plenty of restful sleep! Many people who get depressed by the darkness and gloom of autumn and winter also find light therapy helpful.